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The Lost Books of The Odyssey (2010)

by Zachary Mason

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8884124,294 (4.02)89
A brilliant and beguiling reimagining of Homer's classic story about the hero Odysseus and his long journey home after the fall of Troy.
  1. 61
    The Odyssey by Homer (slickdpdx)
  2. 20
    Ransom by David Malouf (jbvm)
  3. 10
    The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood (alalba, jeanned)
    alalba: Both books offer alternative versions of the Odyssey.
  4. 10
    Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: Like The Lost Books Of The Odyssey, Sum uses very short pieces to explore different facets of the same idea - in this case, the afterlife.
  5. 00
    Siegfried und Krimhild by Jürgen Lodemann (spiphany)

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» See also 89 mentions

English (39)  French (1)  All languages (40)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
The Lost Books of the Odyssey is a fascinating and seductive debut book. It retells the traditional Homeric tale of the hero Odysseus and his arduous return trip following the fall of Troy. In it the Trojan War is retold alongside flashbacks as Odysseus travels from Troy to Ithaca. The chapters flow with witty turns or neat bows, more in the style of a short story writer.

The book is a deft and subtle translation of Greek literature for the present day. Personhood, storytelling, memory, and self-awareness are some of the subjects it examines. According to how much light the story decides to shed, Mason's characters can change shape and become elusive, just like the ones in Homer's original.

The traditional Homer stories are transformed into new episodes, fragments, and revisions using beautiful prose, a vivid imagination, and stunning literary skill. When read as a whole, these additions expose the timeless Greek epic to countless resonant interpretations. The Lost Books of the Odyssey is It is laced with wonderful wit, elegance, and playfulness.

I found that it was worthwhile, but only for those who have already read Homer's original epic saga. ( )
  jwhenderson | Sep 8, 2023 |
This story and clever alterations of it are a perfect base for existential exploration. Seems like a big return for a small investment. ( )
  markm2315 | Jul 1, 2023 |
Basically a collection of apocrypha (big plus) that are highly reminiscent of Italo Calvino (big plus). The language is lovely and I find this so quotable. However, there are several especially in the beginning that read like great ideas which were never developed. If you gave me the sketch, I would read the story - but the story isn't there, only the sketch. In the end, I dig it. It's different and creative and I love the idea. Whatever negatives I have, they're worth it. ( )
  Kiramke | Jun 27, 2023 |
This read like a dream sequence. While I didn't think it was quite cohesive enough for me as a work, it was beautifully written. ( )
  et.carole | Jan 21, 2022 |
This book consists of 44 chapters in which the events of The Odyssey are pulled apart and put back together again in different ways. We get new views of Polyphemus, Calypso, Circe, Penelope, Telemachus, Pallas Athena, and more as the story changes from the familiar narrative: Penelope is dead, Penelope has remarried, the Trojan War runs on repeat for infinity, and so on. It is a book to warm up to; the first couple of chapters take some getting used to, but overall I enjoyed this retelling a great deal. Some of them had particularly good twists. And now I think I’m going to have to re-read The Odyssey to see what “actually” happened. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jul 28, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
Yet in The Lost Books of the Odyssey, Zachary Mason has achieved something remarkable. He's written a first novel that is not just vibrantly original but also an insightful commentary on Homer's epic and its lasting hold on our imagination.
added by jlelliott | editSlate, John Swansberg (Feb 18, 2010)
"Mr. Mason's clean and engaging prose ensures that his variations on the Odyssey never feel like sterile experiments."
In “The Lost Books of the Odyssey” Mr. Mason — who is identified on the book jacket as a computer scientist specializing in artificial intelligence, as well as a finalist for the 2009 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, given to writers under 35 — has written a series of jazzy, post-modernist variations on “The Odyssey,” and in doing so he’s created an ingeniously Borgesian novel that’s witty, playful, moving and tirelessly inventive.
This is, to my surprise, a wonderful book. I had expected it to be rather preening, and probably thin. But it is intelligent, absorbing, wonderfully written, and perhaps the most revelatory and brilliant prose encounter with Homer since James Joyce.

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zachary Masonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lai, Chin-YeeCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Odysseus comes back to Ithaca in a little boat on a clear day.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A brilliant and beguiling reimagining of Homer's classic story about the hero Odysseus and his long journey home after the fall of Troy.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
Odysseus, lost 
in his story. Ithaca?
Penelope? Home?            [yalliejane]

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